The three most visited posts for March were Blackbird, Psychic Eye and Sunday Mornings, three very different pieces but each with its own particular appeal.
Here's an opportunity to read them again.
With catapult, when school was finished,
I went to hunt in woodland, high
above Belfast, in summer light
and heard, among leafed branches spread,
a blackbird, singing like a bell.
I took aim, shot; the missile flew
unerringly, my aim was true.
With awful suddenness it fell,
all broken. Exultation fled,
to be replaced by sickly fright.
I knelt to watch it slowly die.
Within me somewhere, light diminished.
I read the sign and climb a stair.
The office door is smokey glass. Inside a radio plays jazz. I go in. He points to a chair.
He’s shabby but he don’t look dumb. His voice is booze and cigarettes: a weary voice, full of regrets. A gumshoe, laid back, chewing gum.
I say: Man, you’re a Psychic Eye. I got a problem, something’s changed. It’s like the whole world’s rearranged, gone crazy but I don’t know why.
When joshing with my buddy, Pat, there was a mishap with a gun: the pistol was a loaded one. Things turned peculiar after that.
Down at the pool room, I’m ignored. Guys talk and laugh like I’m not there: goddam invisible, I swear.
I was their pal once: now they’re bored. I crack a joke. They look elsewhere. I shout: Hey Guys! They just don’t hear. I ask for whiskey or a beer: the bar-keep gives me a blank stare.
The Psychic nods.
I tell him this. I visited my gal today: she looked right through me, turned away when I leaned forward for a kiss.
He lights a smoke, says: Some survive a bullet from a careless gun, a lucky few, but you’re not one.
Man, you’re a ghost. You ain’t alive.
I’m psychic so I see a bit ... the gumshoe tells me ... Just a peek. For you, the future’s looking bleak.
You’re dead. You gotta live with it.
Those Sunday mornings in her parents’ bed,
tucked between them, tight,
she’d wriggle down, inhale their sweaty heat:
that smell, familiar, safe,
suffused with warmth and yet a salty, puzzling redolence.
They were her shelter: a cleft she grew in like an alpine flower.
Her father, red-cheeked, mountain-big,
made the bed tumble like a boat
when he yawned or stretched or turned;
while mother, plump and comfy, perched
at starboard edge, hand on the tiller, in control,
and she, snug and soft-nested between them,
was warmly content, secure in the moment, her future unspent.